Understanding photopsia and photophobia in Stargardt disease

Lady holding her head due to a headache/photophobia

Professor Omar Mahroo, UCL, Institute of Ophthalmology – £119,868 (co-funded with Retina UK)

People with Stargardt disease may experience flashing lights in their vision (photopsia) or discomfort due to bright light or glare (photophobia). Both have an impact on daily life but go unrecognised and under-researched by clinicians. This work aims to better understand the prevalence, impact and cause of these symptoms.

What is the problem?

Relatively little is understood about photopsia and photophobia and the impact that they can have on daily life. This project will be the first to study how often and why photopsia and photophobia occur as part of Stargardt disease and is the important first step towards widespread recognition of these symptoms.

What are they doing?

The team will use questionnaires and clinical testing to investigate the prevalence of these symptoms and improve understanding of how and why they occur. Through clinical testing, they will try to understand the response to light in the eye, and learn more about the changes of vision.

How can this help?

This research will help understand how many people with Stargardt disease have photopsia and photophobia, and why they might develop it. This work will also share the personal impact these symptoms have on the patients’ life, which often goes unrecognised. This will enable clinicians to better advise and treat their patients.